College’s new biodiversity area given thumbs up

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Neighbours of a Brighton college raised concerns about the potential loss of an existing butterfly habitat when supporting plans for a new one.

Varndean College was given planning permission by Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee on Wednesday (October 9) to create a new biodiversity area to the east of the site in Surrenden Road.

The college plans to use soil and chalk from building works for its new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centre to create the area so it does not have to transport the spoil off site.

John Colman, speaking on behalf of the Varndean Green group, said they welcomed the new habitat but were concerned about potential removal of the existing site as the college had applied to build ten houses there.

He said: “We are asking for a condition to prevent removing the existing habitat.

“We think this is a ploy to enhance the previous application which was refused this year.”

Councillors were advised any efforts to improve a separate application did not apply.

Eight members of the Planning Committee voted in favour of the project with councillor Daniel Yates abstaining.